Vin Scully is set to begin his 64th season announcing Dodgers games and the greatest broadcaster in baseball history shared a lot of great stuff during an interview with Lyle Spencer of MLB.com.
My favorite part, which Jon Weisman of the must-read Dodger Thoughts alerted me to, is that on the night the Dodgers won Game 7 of the World Series in 1955 a then 28-year-old Scully’s postgame plans involved going out on a date:
I had a date, and I left the group to get my car and go pick her up. We drove over to Brooklyn for the party at the Bossert Hotel. It was like V-J Day and V-E Day rolled into one when we came out of the tunnel. There were thousands of people on the sidewalks leading to the hotel. There were policemen, and parking attendants who took your car about a block from the hotel. Walking down that street to the hotel, that was an unforgettable scene.
Her name was Joan Ganz. She was from Arizona. I’m pretty sure she later became the creator of “Sesame Street.” You can check on that. We liked each other and stayed in touch, but it never got serious. I haven’t told this story, but what the heck. That was a long time ago.
First of all, as you’d expect Scully’s memory is spot on. Joan Ganz (who later became Joan Ganz Cooney) created “Sesame Street.” She also was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame. Oh, and she won a Presidential Medal of Freedom too. She’s probably one of the most influential people in television history.
Imagine how many incredible stories Vin Scully has that makes “I once dated the woman who created ‘Sesame Street’ after calling Game 7 of the 1955 World Series” not even worth telling for 58 years.
“I haven’t told this story, but what the heck.”
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.